Canillas de Albaida sits above the small village of Archez
within walking distance of the busy town of Competa
. Located some 20 km from the coast it can be reached via the winding mountain road from either Algarobbo or Velez Malaga
It is sometimes referred to as “The Pearl of the Axarquia” and its name Albaida is Arabic for white. These days it is assumed the name is a reference to the white washed houses that make up the village, but it was originally named due to the mass of white flowers that grew locally on the mountains.
Canillas de Albaida originated in the 13th Century and the Moorish influences can be seen throughout the village with its narrow cobbled streets and squares. Like many of the surrounding villages, Canillas grew from a Moorish farming settlement whose rule later changed hands to the conquering Catholics. There was a rebellion in the 16th Century by the remaining Moors but this was crushed by the well-documented Battle of Frigiliana
The village lies in the Tejada and Almijara mountain ranges below the impressive Atalaya and Verde Hills. These mountains provide an abundance of high quality water that makes agriculture the main industry in the area. The surrounding hills and terraces contain groves of oranges, lemons, olives and almond trees. Vines are grown on a large scale and the Moscatel grape is used to make the local “Vino Terreno” or wine of the land. This can bought in several local bodegas but be warned – it can be very strong!
The area is rich in wildlife including wild boar, goats, horses and even bulls, which can be found high in the mountains above. Eagles and vultures are a common site in the surrounding countryside, which also has some great walking. An old hydroelectric factory on the outskirts of town is a source for many of the walks and is a pretty place used by the locals for picnics and camping.
For a village with a population of about 800 it has great amenities including a public open air pool, a bank, supermarkets, hardware shops, pharmacy, tobacconist, and of course plenty of bars and restaurants. There is a small weekly market and a reliable bus service to the surrounding towns, coast and onto Malaga
Canillas de Albaida is a busy working village and makes a great base for visiting this part of the Axarquia. This has attracted many foreigners who have made the village and surrounding campo their home. It’s a friendly place that seems to welcome the foreign contingent whilst still retaining it’s Spanish identity.